'Tomahawks' from three battalions gather for 23rd Infantry Regiment Run
September 23, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - In the early morning hours of Sept. 19, 2013, members of the 23rd Infantry Regiment "Tomahawks" - to include 1st Battalion from 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division; 2nd Battalion from 4-2 SBCT; and 4th Battalion from 2-2 SBCT - gathered at the Battle of Chipyong-ni Memorial Rock in front of 1-23's Battalion headquarters. They assembled to take part in a three-mile regiment run, which was followed up with information about the 23rd Infantry Regiment Tomahawk Association. It was the first time in recent memory that the entire 23rd Regiment was gathered together in one place, at the same time.
Chuck Main, the honorary command sergeant major of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, who served with 1-23 Inf. during the Korean War, said that "this is the largest group of Tomahawks I've seen since 1953."
While the run itself was notable, it was the fact that the 23rd Infantry Regiment, to include many of its former commanders and first sergeants, as well as recent combat veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq, were gathered together that was remarkable, said retired Col. Buck James, former commander, 1-23 Inf., 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, and Interim President of the 23rd Infantry Regiment Tomahawk Association.
"I don't think there's another infantry, regimental-sized unit on post. Nobody else has three battalions on post," James said.
He went on to say that this was significant because he felt that the regimental system has fallen out of favor and that other than those installations where the battalion commanders of a regiment come together - "the Army had lost a sense of its regiments." He went on to stress the importance of regiments and their place in our current Army.
"I think we all start out with a common thread," James said. "It's the same reason all of us Tomahawks ... [from] any era can sit down and the stories are immediately understood by every other member. It doesn't matter whether you're 22 years old or you're 42 years old because the same guys that I served with are the same type of guys you served with. I think this regiment brings out the best in soldiers."
Historically, regiments have been around for centuries and were once manned by thousands of men during the 17th and 18th centuries. The U.S. Army's system of regiments, established in the 1700s, has largely involved three battalions and a regimental headquarters. This arrangement continued through the 20th century when combined arms brigades replaced them, as brigades enabled their commanders to bring together infantry, cavalry and artillery under the auspices of a division, which acted as the tactical and administrative unit for multiple brigades.
Despite that, regiments such as the 23rd Infantry Regiment "Tomahawks" continue to exist to a lesser degree to garner esprit de corps in its units' members.
"All these different battalions exist within different brigades on this post and they know they're part of something ... larger than [themselves]," said Lt. Col. Tom Feltey, commander, 2-23 Inf., 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7ID. "But today was clearly proof demonstrated by us all running together that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves, and by having the past Tomahawks here it's a way to connect our present Tomahawks to our past Tomahawks. It just never ends. The Tomahawks will never end and it just keeps going on, and this is the best way to demonstrate that to our soldiers.